Group Seeks Review of Power Sector Privatisation

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The Committee for the Defence of Human Rights has called on the Federal Government to review the privatisation exercise in the power sector, which was meant to guarantee efficiency and value for service.

The organisation, which was reacting to the apology tendered by the Presidency over the government’s inability to meet the target for electricity supply, said it would on Wednesday “mobilise Nigerians for a nationwide protest against the power sector and other administrative lapses of the government.”

The President, CDHR, Mr. McMalachy Ugwummadu, who stated this in an interview with The PUNCH in Abuja, faulted the apology, saying it sent a signal that the government was not sensitive to the plight of the citizenry.

Other Nigerians on Sunday rejected the Federal Government’s apology for the deplorable supply of electricity and fuel across the country.

The Federal Government had on Friday apologised to Nigerians for the blackout and the accompanying hardship it had caused them.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Mr. Lai Mohammed, had said in a statement that efforts were being made to rectify the situation and ensure a gradual improvement in the power situation.

According to him, a combination of different incidents, including gas shortage, vandalism of gas pipelines, sabotage and protests by workers, are responsible for acute drop in power supply.

A lawyer and human rights activist, Mr. Ebun Adegboruwa, described the lamentation of the Presidency concerning the dwindling state of the power sector as “purely a joke taken too far.”

According to him, upon the inauguration of the present regime, power supply was above 4,000MW, with a promise of 20,000MW in four years as stated in the manifesto of the All Progressives Congress, adding that Nigeria could now hardly boast of 2,000MW.

Adegboruwa stated, “The so-called apology then becomes a gratuitous insult to all Nigerians in the absence of any direct responsibility for the blackout that Nigerians are currently experiencing. Thus, a mere apology, without any concrete solution on how to improve power supply, is to rub insult on the already battered life of our people.”

Another civil rights organisation, the Anti-Corruption Network, said the government should come up with a courageous new approach to power generation, distribution and delivery.

The Executive Secretary, ACN, Ebenezer Oyetakin, said, “Most recently, China and Britain entered into an agreement to build a nuclear power station in Britain. Nigeria should opt for nuclear power plant if we must easily exit from darkness and the accompanying industrial frustration. We should stop deceiving ourselves that we cannot maintain such or think it is a dangerous venture for us. No!”

meanwhile, power generation fell by 1,084.1 megawatts in the space of 24 hours between Saturday and Sunday, latest figures from the country’s power System Operator have shown.

After recording a peak of 4,182.9MW on Saturday, power generation dropped to 3,098.8MW as of 1.27pm on Sunday.

Although the latest power generation level is higher than the record low of 1,580.6MW that was recorded last Wednesday, figures from the System Operator on Sunday showed that electricity allocations to the distribution companies were still below normal.

For instance, the allocation to the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company as of 1.27pm on Sunday was 356.36MW, in contrast to a normal load allotment of 450MW.

Some officials of the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing as well as workers of the System Operator had told our correspondent that the fall in electricity generation prompted the reduction in the load allocated to the Discos, stressing that this was why many parts of the country had been in blackout in the past weeks.

The Federal Government on Sunday said it would deal ruthlessly with those who engage in pipeline vandalism.

In a statement made available in Abuja, Mohammed said the government would deal decisively with people who sabotage the nation’s power infrastructure, thereby inflicting untold hardship on Nigerians as a result of power failure and fuel shortages.

The minister said repeated attacks on oil and gas pipelines and the wilful shutdown of power facilities by protesters amounted to economic sabotage, which no government could tolerate.

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